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Budget IssuesArizona has just cut $144 million from the education budget to make ends...

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hoffmaker | High School Teacher | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted December 3, 2009 at 9:38 AM via web

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Budget Issues

Arizona has just cut $144 million from the education budget to make ends meet.  I'm curious to see what other educators feel about this and what is going on in other states.  Personally, I feel that until someone higher up cares about education, then nothing will change.

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mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 3, 2009 at 10:13 AM (Answer #2)

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Utah recently had similar budget cuts that ended up having a huge impact on our district.  We were informed last year that our jobs were in trouble, and that many programs that cost a lot of money, or gave teachers extra money for improving their teaching would be cut.  Performance-based bonuses, supplies, and jobs were lost, along with many people's retirement benefits.  The budget cuts impacted not only public school districts, but universities also.  My husband, a graduate student at a state university, was informed that he would have to start paying his tuition again, wheras before, as part of his stipend, it was covered.  He also had to start paying for his health insurance, which was provided previously.

As a teacher, I am dismayed at the impact that these budget cuts have on our lives, and the lives of our children.  I had to decrease my teaching hours, we had to pay out thousands more for my husband's education, and many of my friends lost their jobs.  I went into teaching thinking that it was one job market that was comparatively secure.  The way that budget cuts always seem to impact teachers, public servants, and other invaluable workers that directly effect the quality of our lives, our safety and our education is wrong.  It sends a blatant message that education doesn't matter, even though politicians and other "public servants" are always bemoaning the state of our nation's test scores compared to the world.  It is one more example of people paying lip service to placate a particular group, but when it comes down to it, not taking action that will actually back up their words.

The problem lies much deeper than people who supposedly don't care about education; it lies in a government that doesn't manage its finances with as much logic as we do in our own homes.  Until that changes, budget cuts in any arena where the government has control will be a fact of life.  In the meantime, I sure wish that education could be given the support that it needs and deserves.

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 3, 2009 at 11:19 AM (Answer #3)

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Florida has been making widespread cuts for most of the past decade. Sadly, the state lottery was supposed to supply Florida with all the financial resources it needed for education. Taxpayers (especially retirees) and legislators have since refused to OK additional funding, believing the lottery itself should sustain the schools. Lottery sales are down, however, so teacher salaries have been at a near standstill, and funding for supplies and programs are also restricted. I second most of Mrs. Campbell's statements in the post above.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 3, 2009 at 11:56 AM (Answer #4)

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Here in Washington, the K-12 cuts are estimated at 2.6% by the state and 7.2% by the union, so they're probably somewhere in between.  Higher ed has been cut somewhat more than that, which is why I'm spending all my time on eNotes now instead of being a part-time community college teacher (I was a HS teacher until my first kid was born, then went down to part time).

But it's kind of hard to complain given the kinds of cuts that just about all government workers are having to face.  I mean, the state as a whole has a $2 billion deficit on a $9 billion discretionary budget!  So it's hard to see how education could avoid cuts.

Two further thoughts: first, it would be a lot easier to oppose budget cuts if we could PROVE that higher spending actually helps kids.  But it seems that this isn't always true.  Second, it's hard to blame the government for managing poorly when so much of the current meltdown was caused by businesses and people making really dumb decisions themselves...  But that's beside the point...

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted December 3, 2009 at 12:58 PM (Answer #5)

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I have no doubt that Missouri will face issues similar to those of other states. I believe teachers in the St. Louis area are going to take a couple of days off without pay in order to cut expenses. They seem to think it’s a win/win situation. The district can save some money, and none of the teachers have to be let go at this point. Retiring teachers are less likely to be replaced, and existing staff will be more than likely called upon to fill the void.

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mrspowers | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 3, 2009 at 4:49 PM (Answer #6)

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I live in California and work in one of the largest districts in the state. At the end of the 2008-2009 school year, any teachers with less than 3 years with the district was layed off.

This year the state has cancelled the state writing exam for 4th grade. I believe this also affects grades 7 and 10. They do not have the money to hire people to read the students responses to the on-demand writing prompt. This comes as a relief to the 4th grade teachers because the stress of "The Test" is off but it also comes as a disappointment that once again education is a place to save money.

For the last 12 years California has been part of a class size reduction program. This limited K-3 classrooms to 20 students. This year that is no longer the case. Our k-3 classes are now up to 25 students and our 4th and 5th are starting at 30 students per class. The numbers I fear are just going to continue to creep up every year.

It is going to get worse before it gets better.

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tey | High School Teacher | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted December 4, 2009 at 6:44 AM (Answer #7)

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Florida has been making widespread cuts for most of the past decade. Sadly, the state lottery was supposed to supply Florida with all the financial resources it needed for education. Taxpayers (especially retirees) and legislators have since refused to OK additional funding, believing the lottery itself should sustain the schools. Lottery sales are down, however, so teacher salaries have been at a near standstill, and funding for supplies and programs are also restricted. I second most of Mrs. Campbell's statements in the post above.

Most people are unaware that when the lottery was set in motion for education the Legislature pulled their funds. So, in essence we did not get more money for education, we got the same. The legislature needs to step up to it's responsibility to education and stop passing the buck and masking the truth from the naive public. (sadly, that includes teachers)  In addition to our stagnant salaries. Teaching is the only profession that pays less for over time. The mandates keep coming and planning times shrivel away while the list of responsibilities grow and grow. Honestly, if teachers taught their 42 minute classes, worked their 30 minutes before and after school and their 42 minute planning ONLY.... what a point that would make. However, administrators would write teachers up saying they were unorganized and that is why they can't get it done.

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danw2016 | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 4, 2009 at 8:06 AM (Answer #8)

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I think that cutting money for school is bad. I think that it should be acturaly be more. Now with these days you need to be educated in order to get a job.

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ccampbell28 | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 4, 2009 at 9:57 AM (Answer #9)

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not only do we have more students than ever, the dropout rate is increasing I heard in my county it was 50%. less money means more dropouts.  Hey I thought education was the answer to most ignorance.  I wonder?!?!?!

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scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 4, 2009 at 7:16 PM (Answer #10)

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We are facing similar budget cuts in my state, but what amazes me is what we still have money for.  At my school, we're getting a new rubberized track even as we lost two teachers this year because of budget issues. Class sizes are larger than ever (33-35 in most classrooms), and yet we have money to spend on a new software program for attendance (we just got a new one 2 years ago). In the 8 years that I have taught in this district, the district has invested over $400,000 in three different planning programs (all three do the same thing, but each is just "newer" than the other and, therefore must be better-right?!).

It's exactly as other posters have stated: more money doesn't mean better education or that the money will affect education positively.  Until we start running our schools like a business and an investment in the future, rather than gambling on fancy programs that are just newly wrapped old ideas, we won't see a change.  I hate to sound so negative, but it's painful to see your students struggling because of financial cuts and to be overloaded as a teacher because of financial cuts and to know that so much wasteful spending continues even in such poor economic conditions.

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nancy-rich | High School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted December 4, 2009 at 8:34 PM (Answer #11)

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We are facing similar budget cuts in my state, but what amazes me is what we still have money for.  At my school, we're getting a new rubberized track even as we lost two teachers this year because of budget issues. Class sizes are larger than ever (33-35 in most classrooms), and yet we have money to spend on a new software program for attendance (we just got a new one 2 years ago). In the 8 years that I have taught in this district, the district has invested over $400,000 in three different planning programs (all three do the same thing, but each is just "newer" than the other and, therefore must be better-right?!).

It's exactly as other posters have stated: more money doesn't mean better education or that the money will affect education positively.  Until we start running our schools like a business and an investment in the future, rather than gambling on fancy programs that are just newly wrapped old ideas, we won't see a change.  I hate to sound so negative, but it's painful to see your students struggling because of financial cuts and to be overloaded as a teacher because of financial cuts and to know that so much wasteful spending continues even in such poor economic conditions.

My school district rebuilt the football stadium at 4 million over budget.  The field and track were left alone but we now have a press box!  This is high school football and there are only 2 high schools in the district. There is at least one other district in the area with a press box in the high school football stadium.

The high school being built to replace the old one will have few and smaller class rooms, yet our class sizes are expected to increase.

I have nothing against athletics and believe our coaches put the academics of the student first.  These budgeting decisions are made by the school board.  Our last two superintendents have not been from the area and have no lasting stake in the district.  Whereas, the previous superintendent was with the district from his teaching days.

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enotechris | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted December 5, 2009 at 4:38 PM (Answer #12)

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The problem here is government controlling the finances of education.  This is not its purpose. So much of our tax money disappears into the great black maw of mandates and administration and less and less of it goes towards supporting those who teach.

If the politics were kept local, it would be more manageable. True, that means that richer districts will have more resources than poorer ones, but that's still the case with the massive governmental intrusion in place.

Imagine if the amount the federal government taxes you for education were eliminated, and you could voluntarily give it to the school district in which you live.  If we could get rid of the useless overhead, so much change for the good would occur.

 

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hoffmaker | High School Teacher | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted December 9, 2009 at 5:57 AM (Answer #13)

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We are facing similar budget cuts in my state, but what amazes me is what we still have money for.  At my school, we're getting a new rubberized track even as we lost two teachers this year because of budget issues. Class sizes are larger than ever (33-35 in most classrooms), and yet we have money to spend on a new software program for attendance (we just got a new one 2 years ago). In the 8 years that I have taught in this district, the district has invested over $400,000 in three different planning programs (all three do the same thing, but each is just "newer" than the other and, therefore must be better-right?!).

It's exactly as other posters have stated: more money doesn't mean better education or that the money will affect education positively.  Until we start running our schools like a business and an investment in the future, rather than gambling on fancy programs that are just newly wrapped old ideas, we won't see a change.  I hate to sound so negative, but it's painful to see your students struggling because of financial cuts and to be overloaded as a teacher because of financial cuts and to know that so much wasteful spending continues even in such poor economic conditions.

I understand that feeling as well.  I just worry that people will start to think we can work miracles with just pennies.

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mr-i-answer | High School Teacher | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted December 16, 2009 at 8:32 AM (Answer #14)

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Democrats in the Minnesota Senate are proposing deep cuts in education funding to help balance the state's budget. Their plan includes a cut in early education through 12th grade funding of nearly $1 billion dollars. They would also cut state funding for higher education by $221 million dollars. The Senate DFL plan is the first proposal from state lawmakers to erase the state's $4.6 billion deficit.

That was on the news in Minnesota and i did not like it at all!

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besure77 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted May 31, 2010 at 6:55 AM (Answer #15)

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Illinois is in big trouble too. Thousands of teachers here in Illinois are losing their jobs. There is not going to be anywhere for them to go and it really saddens me that many great educators are going to be jobless. In addition, music and art programs are being cut.

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